Moral Challenges In Rivers Governorship | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Moral Challenges In Rivers Governorship

Posted: Jun 17, 2015 at 12:49 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ignatius Okorocha  –   Abuja


Critics who have reviewed the last elections in March and April agree that there might have been several errors committed by some of the stakeholders. There appears a general feeling that any insensitive leader could have capitalized on those errors to truncate or negate, by whatever means, the outcome of the elections. The critics also believe that but to a committed, patriotic, sensitive, courageous, and nationalistic leader like former President, Goodluck Jonathan, his personal ego and interests counted nothing when the lives of Nigerians and the plight of country men and future generations could have been jeopardized. He had the capacity and the office to benefit from but he chose to concede defeat even before the ‘final whistle was blown’. He was taunted and booed by the “professional politicians” who saw their jobs slipping through their fingers.

Similarly important was President Muhammadu Buhari’s words on the day he took over the mantle of leadership from his predecessor. Commentators claim that it was very interesting and impressive, too, to notice how democratized our “General Buhari” had become in so short a time. He had come to realize that there was nothing bad in being a Nigerian. Nigerians are good people and they can easily appreciate good and virtuous deeds. As against popular opinion and expectations, President Buhari is on the way to making himself one of the best democrats ever in Nigeria.

Some observers have noted very confidently that those who are waiting eagerly to see President Buhari falter by brandishing the ‘military toga’ would have a long waiting to do. He made a solemn reference to ‘that telephone call’ by his predecessor which heralded his victory as the winner of the 2015 Presidential polls.

Many Nigerian leaders and, indeed, every future leader of this country may have noted the lesson of that telephone call. It has been argued in some quarters that it has become the most civilized thing ever demonstrated by a Nigerian.

Some commentators have equally suggested that President Buhari has a duty to engage in serious measures the process of disabusing Nigerian leaders their negative mind set to make them amenable to the new thinking and the new political orientation, especially imbibing the spirit of ‘letting go’, which shows greatness and nobility of mind and character.

The foregoing is the point of moral burden which some commentators have heaped on President Buhari in reference to Rivers State.

In Rivers, the pet issue on every lip is the governorship election and the talk about the All Progressives Congress (APC) going to the Election Tribunal to challenge Governor Nyesom Wike’s electoral victory.

This is against the backdrop of President Buhari’s comment that he was particularly interested in reviewing the circumstances and outcome of the gubernatorial election in Rivers state. Analysts note that the above could easily be misinterpreted, misunderstood, or misconstrued by the ordinary minds and mischief-makers to imply that the President had already taken sides and would use his offices to control or direct the relevant mechanisms against the job the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has concluded and put in place. Such action, they argue, would amount to setting time and place so far backward, because Nigerians are already learning the gains of moving forwards by means of the example shown by former President Jonathan.

While reiterating the fact that election tribunals are veritable parts of the democratic process, it does not jettison the fact that Nigerians and the nation would benefit better if a reflection and refocusing on the peace, tranquility, and smooth momentum the nation has garnered at the apex leadership between the periods of the presidential polls and the present.

Here is one line of thought canvassed by some opinion holders. We have witnessed a brotherly and peaceful handover ceremony that yearns for sober reflection on placing nationhood above self. Viewed closer, all that this points at is where the country could have been now suppose former President Goodluck Jonathan had picked on certain outstanding electoral issues and insisted on one election tribunal or another. If such move would not have augured well at the center, then, certainly, it would, also, not have to augur well at the fringes – the states – that form the component parts of the entity. It has to be categorically stated here that any effort or attempt at negating or contradicting what is already in place in Rivers state now would only aim to irritate the people. It would only spell untold distractions to our nation’s common goal and aspirations –and that would not be acceptable to the people of Rivers state.

In other words, the only review needed in the state now is the truth that His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike, is the acceptable man of the people and a very popular leader. May be it would be needful to remind the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) that they needed to equate with the large heart and great sense of nobility already demonstrated by the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan. President Erdogen of Turkey has in an interview, following the outcome of the country’s presidential elections, recently, where the opposition made considerable successes, declared, “No Party in the world can rule alone”. It is the ‘bigger man’ that lets go. That is virtue. That is nobility. Change is not easy; and wind of change involves a great burden which could only be carried by great minds.

On the other hand, another acceptable review would be a consciously aggregated understanding to render the case at the tribunal a stillbirth. Such move would draw from the hindsight that the momentum of the present political civilization and redirection could very well receive boost and sustenance if it is fashioned to involve financial prudence. In our collective effort to curb waste and reckless spending, let it be understood that should the rivers state gubernatorial elections be held five more times, His Excellency, Nyesom Wike would be sure to win in all with progressive margin. Would it then not amount to wanton waste of the very scarce resources that could have been channeled into other areas of development?

In the light of the foregoing, the underscore here is that with the attendant huge financial, material, and, even, human costs to a repeat governorship polls, whose outcome was ‘doomed’ to be consistent with what is already on ground, the exercise would be bereft of economic, social, and financial wisdom. Who knows what further unforeseen circumstances of disaster and pain the nation could undergo in the face of an already nerve cracking terrorist threat? Our leaders have the enormous duty to apply wisdom in the right direction, by ensuring that the present regime in Rivers state is sustained, so as not to jeopardize the current peaceful atmosphere and the people’s expectations for enhanced development.

It certainly would not be in the best interest of the nation to begin to tinker with the people’s wish and desire in Rivers state at this moment. Nigeria already has enormous challenges of security, unity and coexistence, and infrastructural development. We cannot afford to add to these by an unwanted rekindling of the already arrested political situation in Rivers state. A man whose house is on fire does not go about chasing rats. The relative peace in Rivers state now does not have to be sacrificed at the threshold of reviewing an election that had been well conducted and ably delivered by the INEC. This is the same INEC that conducted the Presidential elections and declared the results in favour of President Muhammad Buhari as well as the Rivers state governorship elections where Governor Nyesom Wike was also declared winner.

The above is not stating that there may not have been some contending issues. Rather, it is amplifying the fact that many electoral discrepancies could be decorated time bombs or booby traps that could lead to unhealthy, if not disastrous consequences when we fail to apply appropriate wisdom. Before being sworn in as President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Buhari was deemed to have set his mind on some issues, but his speech at the handover ceremony proved to the people that he was on his way to making an excellent democrat. He had declared that he was not going to witch hunt or harass anybody and that he was for all Nigerians. Such speech was the opposite of what some countrymen thought of him. This is the part of the change we expect; and it extends to the present peace we have in Rivers state. His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike would provide the support base for national peace, unity, coexistence and cohabitation of Nigerians of this generation and future generations for the further progress and development of the country.